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Residential Learning Communities (RLC)

Students who participate in a Residential Learning Community get the unique opportunity to live and take classes with a small group of students who share similar interests.

The benefits of living in a Residential Learning Community include:

  • Special interaction with faculty members
  • Convenient, natural study group
  • Community service possibilities
  • A smooth start that weaves connections all across JMU

How to Apply

Incoming first-year students can apply online starting April 1, applications are due by May 17th.

  • Be sure to read about all each Learning Community before filling out an application.
  • Students are selected for Residential Learning Communities through a multi-step process. Completing an application does not guarantee a spot in a learning community.
  • A note for applicants: the eRezLife system makes the application look similar to a job application

General questions regarding RLCs can be sent to Joy Heinzman or by calling: (540) 568-5178

RLC Descriptions


For students interested in majors in the College of Visual and Performing Arts

Together students will participate in a one credit seminar class that will:

  • Emphasis on the artist as a citizen leader
  • Active in the production and performance of works of art and critical reflection on those works employing the “critical response” system from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange
  • Engage in the improvement of the artistic and academic culture within the college and at JMU
  • Identify the creative and interdisciplinary connection between the arts and campus

The arts experience will be comprised of music, theatre and exhibition experiences shared in the newly renovated Wayland Hall, in venues throughout campus, and field trips to off campus venues. This will include student and faculty produced as well as field trip experiences and guest artists produced performances and exhibitions. This will be a wonderful experiences for all selected to participate.

For more information contact Terry Dean - 540-568-6342. You may also contact The Office of Residence Life - 540-568-4767.

College of Business (MadisonBiz)

The College of Business (MadisonBiz) Community complements the College of Business mission to prepare students to be engaged, principled business professionals and leaders, and advance scholarship in business disciplines. The Community provides experiences and facilities for highly motivated first-year students interested in majoring in business to live and work together to explore their mutual interests in business. 

The goal of the College of Business (MadisonBiz) Community is to create a living and learning environment in which students learn to integrate their undergraduate coursework with preparation for a professional business career, while gaining early experience interacting with a variety of faculty and business professionals. Pre-professional students who become adept at skills in reflection, professionalism, teamwork, and networking will be those who will provide leadership in the rapidly evolving and expanding world of business.

For more information contact Molly Brown at (540) 568-1697 or Samantha Collier at (540)568-7415. You may also contact The Office of Residence Life - 540-568-4767.

The Honors Living and Learning Center

For students admitted to the JMU Honors Program

The JMU Honors Program vision is a vibrant and diverse community of students and faculty excited to be engaged in intellectual discovery. The Honors Living and Learning Center strongly complements the Program’s mission to develop and enrich this community. The Honors Living and Learning Center provides experiences and facilities for high achieving, highly motivated, and intellectually curious students to live and work together with one another, with other Honors students, and with faculty members to explore their mutual interests in learning and discovery, promoting the intellectual culture that is at the core of the Honors Program’s vision and mission. Intellectual engagement is the primary driving forces in programming for the Honors Living and Learning Center. In addition, the Honors Living and Learning Center requires its members to participate in leadership and service activities.

Freshmen Honors Scholars will live together with a number of sophomore Honors Scholars in the Honors Learning and Living Center, which is typically housed in one of the two wings of Shenandoah Hall. Entering freshmen honors students are expected, but not required, to live in the honors residence hall. Honors students who come to JMU planning to live with a non-honors student may be able to live in the honors residence if space permits. For more honors program info see

For more information contact the Honors Program Office at 540-568-6953 or

Madison International

For students from the United States and around the world who want to live and learn together as global citizens.

Each year, freshman students from the United States and around the world come together to live and learn in a dynamic, international residence hall (Hoffman Hall) in the heart of JMU’s campus. 

 What is the Mission of Madison International?

The mission of Madison International is to provide a rich array of living and learning opportunities for student-residents at James Madison University so they may:

  1. think and act locally and globally;
  2. learn from and contribute to the multiple communities in which they are embedded; and,
  3. cultivate the values and competencies of informed and enlightened global citizens who are prepared to lead productive and meaningful lives. 

What Do We Do in Madison International?

The Madison International learning community provides an extraordinary opportunity for a diverse cohort of students to learn from and about each other through a series of dynamic experiential and classroom-based activities including, but not limited to, the following:

  • academic course work that is uniquely tailored to the participants in Madison International;
  • experiential learning trips; 
  • interaction with the international student population at JMU. 

Academic Requirements:  

By design, the residents of Hoffman Hall complete coursework together, which are developed and taught keeping their unique experiences in mind; such courses also satisfy other curricular or programmatic requirements at JMU.  

MI participants are required to participate together in: 

UNST150: Global Learning and Living: Madison International (1 hour of credit)

Global Learning and Living: Madison International provides an opportunity for a diverse cohort of international and American students to learn from and about each other through stimulating discussions, shared class projects, engaging activities in the larger community, intercultural residence hall programs, and the opportunity to participate in service learning (click here for a sample syllabus).


UNST151: Making Sense of Beliefs and Values: A Guided Tour for Global Citizens (3 hours of credit)

Making Sense of Beliefs and Values: A Guided Tour for Global Citizens explores the origin and nature of beliefs and values and how they are linked to actions, policies and practices around the world.  These processes are examined through a range of big picture issues (e.g., religious, political, environmental, gender-based, cultural) that are relevant to all global citizens. Through dynamic speakers, discussions, readings, activities and lectures, this course helps students develop a deeper understanding of self, others and the larger world (click here for a sample syllabus). 


For more information contact Madison International at 540-568-2993 and visit Madison International's web page. You may also contact The Office of Residence Life via email or at 540-568-4767.


For Psychology majors or students with a strong interest in psychology

The Psychology Learning Community (PLC) is designed for up to 20 first-year students who have a strong interest in pursuing a major in Psychology and a future career in a Psychology-related field. As a member of the PLC, you will take part in a unique introduction to the field of Psychology and jump start to the major through a series of courses and experiences designed specifically for you.

During the fall semester, PLC members will be co-enrolled in two courses. First, you will have the opportunity to participate in Psyc200 (Orientation to Psychology and the Major). This is a special course that will introduce you to the diverse range of areas studied in Psychology, to different careers connected to these areas, and to the unique opportunities of being a Psychology Major at JMU. In addition, it will facilitate having you meet and make initial connections to numerous faculty and students in our department. Second, you will be enrolled in Psyc212 (Psychological Research Methods and Design, Part I) to begin important pre-requisite coursework for our major and your methodology training. Then in the spring semester, you will be enrolled in Psyc213 (Psychological Research Methods and Design, Part II) to complete your method training and pre- requisite coursework.

Recent work by the American Psychological Association (APA) on best practices for Undergraduate Psychology Programs has outlined 10 learning goals. The PLC coursework and additional experiences that will be offered will give each member of our community the opportunity to begin mastering all 10 goals in your first year. Specifically, these learning goals are:

  • Goal 1. Theory and Content of Psychology - Demonstrating familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.
  • Goal 2. Research Methods in Psychology - Understanding and applying basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
  • Goal 3. Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology - Respecting and using critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.
  • Goal 4. Application of Psychology - Understanding and applying psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues.
  • Goal 5. Values in Psychology - Being able to weigh evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Goal 6. Information and Technological Literacy - Demonstrating information competence and the ability to use computers and other technology for many purposes.
  • Goal 7. Communication Skills - Being able to communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
  • Goal 8. Sociocultural and International Awareness - Recognizing, understanding, and respecting the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity.
  • Goal 9. Personal Development - Developing insight into one's own and others' behavior and mental processes and applying effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement.
  • Goal 10. Career Planning and Development - Emerging from the major with realistic ideas about how to implement one's psychological knowledge, skills, and values in occupational pursuits in a variety of settings.

When selecting students for our community, we are interested in freshmen who have declared Psychology as a major and who have demonstrated proficiency in mathematics and writing to enter the Psyc212 and 213 sequence as a Freshmen. In addition, other important characteristics in selecting members for the community will be interest in working in a community that promotes diversity, collaboration, interest in exploring psychology as a science of behavior, and willingness to engage in service-learning and other experiential learning opportunities.

For more information contact Dr. Kenn Barron either by email at or by phone at (540) 568-4065.

Roop Teacher Education Learning Community

For students interested in teaching Pre-K through 12

If you are studying Education and plan to follow a career path towards teaching pre-K through 12, then the Roop Teacher Education Residential Learning Community (RTLC) for you. The RTLC is open to all education students; Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, IDLS, Secondary, Special Education, Art, Music, and Physical and Health Education. If you are going into a career field of education, you are invited to apply. 

Students in the RTLC will take their General Education Cluster 3 science core classes together in addition to living in the same residence hall (Gifford Hall). The members of the RTLC will also have opportunities to participate in community service projects in local schools. This is an integrated learning experience that will help you build a sense of community and develop friendships that will last a lifetime.

In addition to community service projects in local schools, members of the Roop Teacher Education Learning Community will also have opportunities to take field trips as a community. Imagine living and taking classes with a small group of students who share your interests in teaching!

All members of this learning community will be enrolled in the General Education Cluster 3, track II science classes. You will take ISCI 171, ISCI 172, ISCI 173, ISAT 280, and EDUC 300. Each of these classes will be taught in an interactive, interdisciplinary setting and members of the RTLC will all be enrolled in the same sections of these classes. You will be enrolled in these classes together over the course of the three semesters.

For more information contact Dr. Cindy Klevickis at (540) 568-2726 or Professor Robbie Higdon at (864)979-5336. You may also contact The Office of Residence Life at or The Roop Teacher Education RLC at

The Roop Teacher Education Learning Community is named after Inez Graybeal Roop who graduated from Madison  College  in 1935. Inez Roop was a member of the James  Madison  University  Board of Visitors from 1974-1978 and 1980-1984. Roop Hall was dedicated in her honor in 1995. 


For Biology First-Year Students with Interests in Science, Biology and Research

The Trelawny Learning Community (TLC) is designed for a small group of 10-12 first-year Biology students with interests in any aspect of biology, biotechnology or medicine – and especially research. TLC students will live together, participate in our Trelawney Seminar class in both Fall and Spring, and become involved in faculty research programs. The central goal of the TLC is to offer a select group of motivated students a unique opportunity to engage in the scientific process.

Research Experience

The cornerstone of the Trelawney Learning experience will be the unique opportunity as a first year student to participate as a team member in a faculty research program. Each student will be matched to a research laboratory in Biology or Biotechnology where they will have a hands-on experience (see for more information on faculty research interests).

Academic Courses (BIO 201,201,140,150)

TLC students will enroll in Fall (BIO 201, 1 credit) and Spring (BIO 202, 2 credits) Trelawney Seminars designed to support the TLC program. The rigorous seminars, through discussion, and extensive reading and writing, will explore both the scientific process and what it means to be a scientist. In particular, we will study the role and responsibilities of biologists in the local and global communities. We will see how science integrates in diverse fields such as medicine, biological research, environmental policy, philosophy and religion. 

Incoming students are required to take our two first year core courses (BIO 140 and 150). TLC students will take these classes and if possible the lab sections together.

Off Campus Activities

An integral part of the TLC experience will be off campus activities – many scientific and others just plain fun. In the past we have visited zoos, watched whales, and toured scientific facilities. Anticipate two off-campus activities each semester. 


An important part of the TLC is mentoring. Former TLC students and lead faculty of the TLC will individually mentor each TLC student. Further, each student will have the opportunity to become a mentor for local high school research students.


The goal of the TLC is to provide a select group of students opportunities well beyond the typical biology student’s first year requirements. TLC students will be expected to read and write extensively in the Trelawney Seminar and spend several hours per week participating in research. While we believe the TLC is a fantastic opportunity, please carefully consider if you are prepared for the commitment.

For more information contact Corey Cleland at 464-584-0543 or You may also contact The Office of Residence Life at or 540-568-4767.

The Trelawny Learning Community is named after Dr. Gilbert Trelawny. Dr. Trelawny was head of the Department of Biology at James Madison University for 22 years. Through his work, Dr. Trelawny made a lasting impact on the University. He is admired for his work in building the department and supporting the development of undergraduate research programs

Residential Learning Community FAQs

If I am in a RLC will I be able to meet other people?

Yes, you will meet lots of other people. The RLC will be just one group of friends you are sure to make here at JMU.

How large are the Learning Communities?

RLCs range in size from 18-30 depending upon the year and specific group.

What day is move in from the RLCs?

Move in for the RLCs is Tuesday. Wednesday is a special lunch for all RLC members. It is the first opportunity you will have to meet with your faculty members.

How much time will be involved with the RLCs outside of the classroom?

This really depends on the RLC but they tend to have lots of fun activities outside the classroom like trips to Kings Dominion, Baltimore aquarium, local service projects, etc.

Is there an advantage to applying for a RLC?

Yes, you get to know faculty members right from the beginning of your college career. Ask a senior, knowing your faculty members can provide different opportunities for you here at JMU.

Are there RLCs for second year students?

Yes, Roop, Honors and Madison International all offer an optional second year component.

How do I get selected to participate in a RLC?

You will complete a special interest housing application and the faculty working with each of the RLCs will determine who is accepted.

When do I have to decide if I want to participate?

Applications are due at the same time as your housing contract; however, we will continue to accept applications until the RLCs are full. To have the best chance to get into your first choice of RLC be sure to apply by the deadline. All late applications are decided upon a rolling admission based on space available.

How do I find out if I got accepted into a RLC?

You will get an email to your JMU email account providing your status.

If I get chosen to participate in a RLC, will my roommate have to be in the same one?

No, in fact your roommate does not have to be in any of the RLCs.

Can my roommate and I be in the same RLC?

Yes. Please, remember roommates are only assigned together if they mutually request one another.

Can my roommate and I be in different RLCs?

Yes, as long as both RLCs are housed in the same building.

What halls are the RLCs in?

The RLCs are all in handicap accessible, air conditioned buildings. Currently, the RLCs are in Chesapeake, Gifford, Hoffman, and Wayland.

Do I have to take all the courses associate with the RLC or can I pick and choose?

Once accepted you will need to take all the courses associated with the RLC. If you drop one you will be dropped from the community and your housing assignment may be changed before your arrival.

How do I know what classes to take?

Once selected into a RLC you will be pre-registered for the associated courses. If at Springboard you adjust your schedule make sure to not drop one of the RLC courses. Your advisor will have information in your folder but be sure to remind them you have been selected into a RLC.

Who are the RLC Faculty Coordinators?

Residential Learning Community (RLC) Faculty Coordinator Email Campus Phone
Honors Living and Learning Center Dr Brad Newcomer 540-568-5535
MadisonBiz (College of Business)

Molly Brown

Samantha Collier



Madison International Dr. Shealy 540-568-6477
Psychology Learning Community Dr. Barron 540-568-4065
Roop (Education) Dr. Klevickis 540-568-2726
Trelawney (Biology Research focus) Corey Cleland 464-584-0543
Visual & Performing Arts Dr. Dean 540-568-6342